The overarching goal of the Student Training Core is to develop a multi-tiered program that would recruit students from within the current Xavier population and provide them with the research training necessary for admission and success in graduate school.
Aim 1 : Increase the number of Xavier students who are actively considering biomedical research careers, through career education. Level 1 of the BUILD student training program seeks to educate all STEM majors about career options that students may not know about or have never considered for themselves, to include graduate school and research-oriented careers. Career aptitude assessment will also take place.
Aim 2 : Increase the number of Xavier students who participate in research training activities. A key element in Level 2 is student-led discussion groups, where more advanced students will guide participants to research and discuss popular literature on STEM-oriented topics such as the effect of hydraulic fracking on groundwater and concerns about the toxicity of bisphenol A (BPA) in plastics. Also in Level 2, a series of research-oriented seminars are presented to all interested STEM majors. These events will include more focused information on research careers, and will help students obtain skills needed by researchers.
Aim 3 : Increase the number of Xavier students who have the opportunity to carry out independent research projects.
This aim contributes to the overall goal of involving more students in meaningful, engaging undergraduate research experiences. Students who have shown active engagement in Level 2 discussion groups and have strong faculty recommendations will be designated as NIH BUILD Scholars. These Level 3 students will participate in independent research projects with faculty and student mentors, both at Xavier and at partner institutions as part of the relationship established through the Overall Program Aims. These students will receive scholarships, and will be expected to present their work at scientific conferences. NIH BUILD Scholars are highly encouraged to apply to graduate schools in biomedical fields.
To develop the NIH workforce, the Student Training Core seeks to cast a wide net amongst the hundreds of African American STEM majors who already choose to attend Xavier University of Louisiana. This will occur through career education and research training activities.